Spotlight on Lara Hopwood

Lara Hopwood is Burning Man Project’s Administrative Associate, primarily responsible for supporting the Board and the Senior Executive Committee. This is the first in our ongoing series of profiles of the people who make Burning Man Project a success.

Commuting to work in San Francisco in 2008, Lara Hopwood realized she needed something more inspirational in her life. Getting back into art was top of the list and a friend suggested she look at welding. She’d taken metal shop and woodworking in Junior High, loved it and signed up for a class at The Crucible in Oakland.

“I was looking through The Crucible catalog and saw they had classes in fire performance,” she said. “Without really thinking about it, I signed up for a couple of classes. The welding class got cancelled and I never looked back.

“I was on the flag team in high school, so a lot of the moves involved with fire performance came pretty naturally,” she said. “The Bay Area has a rich culture in fire performance and I learned a tremendous amount.”

After three months at The Crucible, her teacher had to leave to attend Burning Man and asked Lara to teach the class in her absence. The teacher returned from the desert, left to take another job and Lara continued teaching.

In 2009 Lara and a fellow fire performer decided to make their first trek to Burning Man and got involved with Oakland-based camp – Vulcantown.

“It was amazing to come together with so many fire performers from so many places who were clearly advancing the art of fire dancing in terms of style, technique and self-expression,” she said.

In 2011, Lara heard of an opening at Burning Man headquarters, interviewed for several positions and joined in December 2012 as Administrative Associate for Burning Man Project. Besides supporting the Board and the Senior Executive Committee, her other areas of focus include setting up processes, policies and procedures for the Project, assisting with donor relations and supporting Project events, programs and workshops.